Right now we have an abundance of fresh, local strawberries here in Gettysburg, so for the past several weeks I have been thoroughly enjoying multiple batches of strawberry shortcake. Today I very generously decided to share some of the strawberries leftover from my shortcake-a-palooza with my dog Pacey, and the result was this recipe for berry bar cookies. If you don’t have fresh strawberries, you can substitute an equal amount of blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, or use a combination of berries.
The preparation is simple, and the treats can easily be made from start to finish in less than 30 minutes. I cut the baked treats into 1-inch by 1-inch squares to suit my little dog, but you can cut the treats into pieces of any size and/or shape using a paring knife or a small cookie cutter. To keep the finished treats from crumbling too much, it’s best to cut them into pieces immediately after removing them from the oven. Just be sure to use an oven mitt or pot-holder and be extremely careful during this step, because the pan and the treats will be very hot.
Summer Berry Bars
Makes about 30 (1-inch by 1-inch) bars
1 1/2 cups whole ripe strawberries, stems and leaves removed
1/4 cup water
2 cups oat flour
1 cup white rice flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Place the strawberries and water in a bowl. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to mash the berries into very small pieces (a.k.a. mush).
3. Stir the egg into the mashed berries.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the oat flour and rice flour.
5. Slowly stir the flours into the wet ingredients, and continue stirring until well-combined. (The finished dough will be slightly wet but should hold together well and press easily into the pan.)
6. Press the dough into an 8-inch by 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper, making sure that the sheet of dough is of an even thickness.
7. Bake until firm to the touch and baked through, 18 to 20 minutes.
8. Remove the pan from the oven, and use a sharp paring knife to cut the bars into pieces.
9. Allow the bars to cool completely before removing them from the pan and serving.
These treats should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
After a very long, unexpected absence from blogging due to illness, I’M BACK! And without a moment to spare: I’m bouncing back just in time to enjoy the springtime weather and the opening of this year’s farmers’ market season! In celebration of the sunshine and warmer temperatures, this week I whipped up a fun frozen dog treat to share with you. I used a fancy, silicone, bone-shaped ice cube tray to make this batch, but you can use any ice cube tray (or even a mini muffin pan) to mold the treats. Just be sure to set aside at least a couple hours for them to firm up in the freezer.
The base of these treats is applesauce. If you have the time and inclination, feel free to make a homemade batch from scratch, but a natural, unsweetened, store-bought applesauce works as well. I included strawberries because my dog Pacey happens to love them; however, you can use whatever fruit is handy in your pantry. Fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or even dried cranberries would all work well.
Fruity Frozen Dog Treats
Makes about 18 frozen treats
About 4 medium-sized strawberries
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup applesauce
1. Remove the stems and leaves from the strawberries and discard them. Dice the strawberries into very small pieces.
2. Stir the strawberries and parsley into the applesauce.
3. Pour the mixture into the cavities of an ice cube tray or mini muffin tin.
4. Place in the freezer until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
Note: Like any frozen delight on a hot day, these treats can get a little messy. It’s best to serve them to your dog outside (or on a floor that you don’t mind having to wipe clean).
One of my favorite things about early summer is the bounty of fresh strawberries. When I was little, we used to go once a year to a local berry farm to pick our own strawberries. Being out in the fields was such a novelty for us suburbanites, and once we’d picked what seemed like a thousand strawberries, we’d take them home and my mom would make strawberry shortcake and lots of homemade jam.
I haven’t picked berries myself yet this year, but I did pick up a bunch of delicious strawberries at a local farm market recently, so I decided to share some with our doggies. When these treats are baking, they smell very much like strawberry shortcake, and most dogs will love the sweetness of the berries and honey.
Using a teaspoon to portion the dough makes a really nice sized treat for most dogs, and the finished treats are still soft enough to break into smaller pieces if you need to for really small pups.
Strawberry Oat Balls
Makes about 72 treats
1 cup whole, fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup water
2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender.
3. Transfer the strawberry puree to a bowl and combine with the honey, egg, and water.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the oat flour, rice flour, and oat bran.
5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
6. Scoop the dough by the teaspoonful, and use your hands to roll each scoop into a ball.
7. Arrange the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake until the balls are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
These treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature but will last longer in the refrigerator.